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  1. #1
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    order of importance

    I was reading the cd player thread a few bellow this one (at the time of posting) and it got me thinking in what order do you believe products should be bought relative to their importancee and effect on music.

    Will limit it to only stereo music forget all that home theater would bring into the subject.

    speakers would obviously be 1
    after that though it could get a little fuzzy
    where would you put a sub
    would you take money away from you receiver to get a better cd player
    or would you take money from the cd player fund to put toward seperate components
    how about wiring?

    just curious to see what people thought.

    Personally i spent the most on my speakers then my receiver and sub and then my cd/dvd player and wiring. If I had the money I would move to an amp preamp system but I don't at the moment but when I do obviously this would change the hierarchy

    I guess to make a long question short which products to you feel have the biggest affect on the music we hear?

    just a thought you can also spend some money on calibration you can include that too if you felt like it

    This was also spurred by the affect cd players can hve on music which I hve yet to take into real account

    Porter

  2. #2
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    personally i think you need a good amp.

    a good powerful amp can make any speakers sound great. if you dont have good power going to the speakers you wont get good sound coming out of the speakers.

    just a bit ago i found some really old speakers, no name brand cheapies. and there rated at 24 watts a speaker. i hooked them up to an amp and they sounded horrible the bass was all distorted. so i put them away, a bit later i needed some speakers temporarily for my big amp and i hooked them up and they sounded 3 times better on this amp. "still not great but better" If youve got the power it will straighten up any speaker and make it play how it wants.

  3. #3
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    If you're thinking about building a system from the ground upwards, I would take my time and go and listen to as many setups as you can.

    One thing that I've learned over the past 35 years is that, if you're just a little careful, you'll almost have a friend for life with your hifi system. This should be viewed as a long term investment.

    Once you have all of the basic components in place, you can experiment with different connecter cables and speaker cables.

    I agree with uncooked that the amplifier should be your main consideration, to begin with for the simple reason that this will be the rock that you build your castle on. It is an utter waste of money to buy, for example, a 200W per channel power amplifier for an average room which only needs up to 20W per channel (that's a loud party.)

    Another thing that I've learned is to keep it simple. That can also apply to building your system. As well as an amplifier you'll need a pair of speakers and a sound source, like a CD player.

    Once you have your basic system in place and are happy with it, you can start adding other components, FM-tuner, DAB-tuner for instance. Most broadcasting companies have excellent equipment and you can compare their quality with your own.

  4. #4
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    I think this is going a bit differnt then I expected it was meant more to be just a discussion I wasn't really looking for tips my system is already in place I was just interested to hear what people thought was more important. and how they went about putting their systems together

    thanks for the advice though

  5. #5
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    Oh good, another war.

    Let's see, we're done with Bose bashing, the solid state vs. tube battle isn't due 'til next quarter, the cinders from the last cable debate are still glowing and we flat gave up on vinyl vs. digital. Therefore, it must be time to debate source vs. playback, right?

    There are, as we are likely to find out at length, credible arguments for both views. This is in the same vein as which came first; the chicken or the egg? Source people will rightly argue that garbage in=garbage out. Speaker folks will counter that speakers make the single largest and most cost effective difference. They are both right. Personally, I believe that system synergy is as important as anything because you can easily take a very reputable speaker and hook it up to a very reputable front end and still get horrible sound. I've heard it first hand.
    It is very possible to build a system where the whole simply doesn't equal the sum of the parts.

    There is no disputing that speakers will exhibit a greater difference in sound than front end equipment. Even if you took a Sony amp and played it next to a ARC tube, the differences, while clearly audible, wouldn't be nearly as great as if you compared the sonic signatures of say a Sony speaker and a Maggie 20.1.

    FWIW, I read Wilson Audio did an interesting demo at the CES utilizing their Sophias vs. a competitor's considerably more expensive speakers. Between the speakers sat Krell's $25k cd player coupled to one of their capable albeit hideously priced amps. It was a no contest, the Wilsons trounced the competition. The interesting thing was that the demo wasn't meant to prove that Wilson's speakers were better than the competition. Au contraire, the demo was an exercise in budget management. You see, the Krell equipment only powered the competition. Wilson used, get this...an iPod driving a modest Parasound amp (not the JC1's). His connection? Radio Shack patch cords. So what do think is more cost effective; speakers or source? You decide.

    The good news is that if you think the front end is the most important, you're right. If you thinks speakers are the most important, well congratulations because you're right again. Wire? Same thing. As long as everything combined puts out satisfactory sound, that's all that matters.

  6. #6
    My custom user title This Guy's Avatar
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    Actually, my opinion is oposite of uncooked. If you have a piece of crap speaker, it doesn't matter how good of an amp you conect it to, it will still sound bad. Seriously, Do you think a Bose speaker (excluding the big 901's) will sound any different with their own Bose amp, or a $5000 Krell mono block? I doubt it. But I do agree however I good amp will sound better than some cheapo receiver. For example, I used to have a $150 JVC receiver. Really not bad at all, but it didn't have all the inputs I needed, and its amplifier section wasn't great. I upgraded to a Marantz SR-5200, retailed for around $500 i think, but I got it used for $320. The amp section was quite a bit beefier, it weighed 10 pounds more than the JVC. It made my speakers go louder with less distortion, despite its lower power rating compared to the JVC. The highs and mids just sounded more smooth.The receiever is the base/comand center of your home theatre so you're gonna need to invest some money into that, and may be one of the most expensive things in your system. The sound of your system depends on your speakers. You could have a nice expensive pair of speakers and connect it to a JVC receiever and they will sound fine as long as they aren't too inefficient, and the impediance isn't too low. A nicer receiever or amplifier will probably play them louder and cleaner, but not too much louder because everytime you double the power output the volume increases by only 3dB. With dvd or cd players, I don't spend much. I've got a sub $100 dvd player and it works fine, except it has that god dang chroma bug. The newer players don't have it anymore, so you can use a $60 dvd player and it'll work fine assuming it has all the outputs you need. Sorry for the spelling mistakes, crappy keyboard.

    -Joey

  7. #7
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    My 2 cents worth

    Quote Originally Posted by pwh03
    I was reading the cd player thread a few bellow this one (at the time of posting) and it got me thinking in what order do you believe products should be bought relative to their importancee and effect on music. ... Porter
    I pretty much argree with you, pwh03. That is, in order of importance for a non-vinyl system:

    1. Speakers (including sub) -- more differences here, with or without regard to money, than any where else;
    2. Amplifier -- specifically power amp. After speakers, more difference here than elsewhere;
    3. Preamp -- but source and speaker cable are close
    4. Source -- i.e. pertaining to digital sources only;
    5. Speaker cable;
    6. Interconnects.

    In a vinyl system, I'd say:
    1B Cartridge ...
    2B Phono preamp ...
    4B Turntable ...
    5B Tonearm ...
    But I'm no vinyl expert.

    The British magazine editors, (e.g. What Hifi? Hifi Choice), and some others, put source first based on the "garbage in / garbage out" principle. Often they recommend spending equal amounts on (digital) source, amplification, and speakers -- this is arbitrary nonsense in terms of maximizing bang/buck.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by pwh03
    I was reading the cd player thread a few bellow this one (at the time of posting) and it got me thinking in what order do you believe products should be bought relative to their importancee and effect on music.

    Will limit it to only stereo music forget all that home theater would bring into the subject.

    speakers would obviously be 1
    after that though it could get a little fuzzy
    where would you put a sub
    would you take money away from you receiver to get a better cd player
    or would you take money from the cd player fund to put toward seperate components
    how about wiring?

    just curious to see what people thought.

    Personally i spent the most on my speakers then my receiver and sub and then my cd/dvd player and wiring. If I had the money I would move to an amp preamp system but I don't at the moment but when I do obviously this would change the hierarchy

    I guess to make a long question short which products to you feel have the biggest affect on the music we hear?

    just a thought you can also spend some money on calibration you can include that too if you felt like it

    This was also spurred by the affect cd players can hve on music which I hve yet to take into real account

    Porter
    Here ya go.
    Speakers are by far the most important and most difficult to get it right. However, your acoustic space, your listeing room is just as important.
    Recording quality will show up no matter what.

    After this, you need an amp/receiver that is capable of driving the speakers. Some speakers are difficult to drive while others are easy. Impedance and sensitivity is a factor when buying the amp/receiver.

    Not to worry about separates or receiver.
    Actually after the above, not much else to worry about but much to be careful with as audio is not exempt from bs, myths, urban legends or voodoo.
    mtrycrafts

  9. #9
    Forum Regular gonefishin's Avatar
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    I'd certainly agree with most of mtry's advice above. Speakers and the room are of the utmost importance in an audio system. 'least as far as I'm concerned . You can also lump speaker positioning in here.

    After speakers and room, I would say the next component to be looked at would be your preamp, amp, source...all lumped as important as the next.

    While I can agree that there is alot of BS, hoopla and overpricing in the audio industry. I wouldn't lump all audio products into this category (of BS) simply because they're also audio products. Tout au contraire.

    take care>>>>>>>>>
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    enjoy the music!

  10. #10
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    In My Opinion with 2-channel stereo the order would fall as:

    Speakers
    Preamplifier
    Amplifier
    Source
    Wires and ICs




    Quote Originally Posted by pwh03
    I was reading the cd player thread a few bellow this one (at the time of posting) and it got me thinking in what order do you believe products should be bought relative to their importancee and effect on music.

    Will limit it to only stereo music forget all that home theater would bring into the subject.

    speakers would obviously be 1
    after that though it could get a little fuzzy
    where would you put a sub
    would you take money away from you receiver to get a better cd player
    or would you take money from the cd player fund to put toward seperate components
    how about wiring?

    just curious to see what people thought.

    Personally i spent the most on my speakers then my receiver and sub and then my cd/dvd player and wiring. If I had the money I would move to an amp preamp system but I don't at the moment but when I do obviously this would change the hierarchy

    I guess to make a long question short which products to you feel have the biggest affect on the music we hear?

    just a thought you can also spend some money on calibration you can include that too if you felt like it

    This was also spurred by the affect cd players can hve on music which I hve yet to take into real account

    Porter
    ReVoX S-25 40wpc Integrated Amplifier, Klipsch LaScala Speakers, Grado SR-60 cans, Rega P-2 table w/glass platter and 300 arm, Toshiba SD-3950 Power cord, transport and output mods, MIT 8' Terminator II Speaker Cables, Montser/DIY IC cables, Marinco 3 prong w/10 ga. DIY power cables, Ferrite Core noise supression clamp on IC's and power cables, Isolation spikes for digital source, Tube insulation for IC cables and speaker wire.

  11. #11
    DMK
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    Opinions vary

    Quote Originally Posted by pwh03
    I was reading the cd player thread a few bellow this one (at the time of posting) and it got me thinking in what order do you believe products should be bought relative to their importancee and effect on music.

    Will limit it to only stereo music forget all that home theater would bring into the subject.

    speakers would obviously be 1
    after that though it could get a little fuzzy
    where would you put a sub
    would you take money away from you receiver to get a better cd player
    or would you take money from the cd player fund to put toward seperate components
    how about wiring?

    just curious to see what people thought.

    Personally i spent the most on my speakers then my receiver and sub and then my cd/dvd player and wiring. If I had the money I would move to an amp preamp system but I don't at the moment but when I do obviously this would change the hierarchy

    I guess to make a long question short which products to you feel have the biggest affect on the music we hear?

    just a thought you can also spend some money on calibration you can include that too if you felt like it

    This was also spurred by the affect cd players can hve on music which I hve yet to take into real account

    Porter
    ...as you can see by the replies! My opinion is:

    1) Speakers (and sub if applicable), the room acoustics and the source material (LP, CD) account for about 90% of your overall sound.
    2) If you spin LP's, your tonearm and cartridge are critical with the turntable adding a smidge - with this being lumped in with #1 as it is as important.
    3) Amplification is about 8%
    4) CD player - 2%
    5) Wires and tweaks - squat

    This is based on my experience and the numbers are, of course, subjective. The only hard and fast rule I have is that when you have #1 taken care of, you're most of the way there and improvements then become subtle. They may also be musically significant. To my ears, a good preamp is crucial. Others believe they all sound the same unless one is made to sound less accurate.

  12. #12
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    You can also lump speaker positioning in here.

    Well, that would be a subset?

    .

    While I can agree that there is alot of BS, hoopla and overpricing in the audio industry. I wouldn't lump all audio products into this category (of BS) simply because they're also audio products. Tout au contraire.

    take care>>>>>>>>>


    The components are not bs, etc as most work well indeed. Just the claims made for them
    mtrycrafts

  13. #13
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    How I would buy a system

    As long as you're satisfied with 80Hz as a lower frequency limit, there's no reason to spend more than $200 for a pair of speakers. Choose a pair at this price whose impedance never drops below 4 ohms--preferably 6 ohms.

    If you want to get down to 30Hz, buy a subwoofer. This is a better and less expensive solution than buying a pair of floor standing speakers that go down that low. You will not need to spend more than $500.

    For amplification, buy an AV receiver. Excellent performance can be had for $250.

    For a source, buy a DVD player. I recommend one that plays CDR's loaded with mp3s as well as CDDA and DVD-V. $100 will easily do the job.

    So there you. $1050 + tax or shipping
    Norm Strong [normanstrong@comcast.net]

  14. #14
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    The room is certainly second only to speakers. It plays a huge role and can make or break ANY system at any cost. Speaker position is much more important than I suspect most people think. Try changing speaker position when hooked up to a spectrum analyzer and playing pink noise and most people will be quite surprised.

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